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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  May 21, 2016 3:48pm-4:36pm EDT

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and we'll -- we'll delineate them in writing so you have them. you can tell us which ones you believe are of a -- an ssi nature. and without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> president obama the white house earlier this afternoon for a weeklong trip to asia. he will spend three days in vietnam where he will meet with the nation's president, he will then travel to japan for the geo seven summit for -- for the g-7 of leaders. become an the first u.s. president to visit the site where an atomic bomb was dropped during world war ii.
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>> this weekend on c-span city to her, along with our comcast cable partners we will explore the history and literary life of -- mississippi. the civil war and the words of those who lifted. the book draws on rare letters and diary entries to tell the story of the civil war through the eyes of soldiers and their families. >> so many women where writing saying, i don't know what you are fighting for, but you need to come home because we have a fifth of the crop we normally do. i just buried our youngest in the back and we are not going to have anything left. you need to come home. in the 1967 experiences of charlie and company, with on death with author -- discussing
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the battle of vietnam and what soldiers found upon their return. them of vietnam veterans have been used as political footballs. the have been used as many hardly got toey tell their story, who they were as young men for they went. times, the horrible times, and then what happened to the message generation since they have been home. of civil66 slaying rights activists -- at the hands of the ku klux klan, told by widow ellie and his son. for what reason did anybody want to come and kill him? it was from orders from the head of the clan. and they came and killed the whole family. freedomearn about the
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summer school program during the summer of 1964, with volunteers around the country teaching african-americans of nonviolence resistance. preparing the residents and informing them of their political rights, getting ready to register to vote. 's this weekend, watch c-span cities tour, today at 5:30 eastern and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. 're joined by joseph lawler. we will be discussing highlights of the puerto rican debt bill introduced in the house last week and what it means for the pensionho face liabilities. debt bill forthis
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puerto rico. >> this is the bill they addressed. anticipated to be introduced the previous three weeks and i finally came out with it this past week. they have shown it to the public , people can read it. that is as far as it has gone. it is the first step in a long process of getting it through the house. what does the bill seek to do? guest: restructure the debt of puerto rico. they have about $70 billion of debt they said they cannot pay.
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to give themgress a way to restructure that. toy do not have the ability go through bankruptcy. as a state, they don't have the sovereign power they need to address of the elves. congress tome to look for a way to go to creditors, to the people who own those lawns and restructure the bonds andho own those restructure the debt. host: we are talking with joseph lawler. we are talking about the bill to address the puerto rican debt crisis. your calls in.g demo bang independents can call (202) 748-8002.
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outside of the united states, you can call (202) 748-8003. house republicans and others are stressing this is not a bailout. what was the concern about whether this would be a bailout or not guest:? is one of the critical parts about this, the fear of bailouts. concern. larger the public does not want to see bailouts. they don't want to see puerto bailed out. the larger fear is if congress , indebted states and cities will also come with their hands outstretched to congress. that is a key motivation i have from lawmakers.
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if you give money or some kind of help to puerto rico that is not appropriate, you will have illinois or chicago, or another state or city that has gotten into trouble with debt looking for help from the taxpayers. that is one of the key issues here. they don't want to see any kind , anything that looks like a bailout involved in this bill. paul ryan, the chairman of the national resources committee, they have been adamant this is not a bailout, it is a restructuring. this the right way, there will be a real crisis. schools will not be open. there will be pressure for a real bailout.
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they face so much pressure to pass something. host: let's look at paul ryan discussing the debt will. >> we have it where we want it. it prevents any taxpayer bailout or some precedent that could affect the bond market. we want to make sure the board is strong. we want to make sure we keep this away from the taxpayer. we also want to make sure it is we have the tools to fix this problem. our fellow citizens are in a tough spot. host: more on about protecting
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the taxpayer from other states seeking relief. how big an issue is this? the majority of the states are doing well in terms of fiscal situations. a lot of them have rebuilt. receipts goen tax back up and have had an easier time balancing their budget. some states have gotten into .rouble they're going to have trouble paying those off. the state ofear is illinois, which has racked up about $111 billion of net pension liability. those are pension obligations in the future they do not have the assets to back up. they will have to find a way to close that gap. how they will do it is unclear.
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illinois, connecticut, a handful of others are problem states were something will have to be done eventually. this something that will be determined in the future. a bloomberg piece went into more detail about these pension plans that are causing problems from some states. and city pensions posted the lowest return since the credit crisis. funds count on to keep them afloat. system had no gains left, seeking out a median increase. is there a way to address this or fix this issue before we get these statesof
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seeking help from the government? you will have good years and bad years. over the course, it is hard to know what you can count on. happen, these to states will need to make full contributions to their pension , keeping buses running, hospital open, things like that. at some point, it is likely to involve restructuring the pension obligations and telling what they signed up for, what they were told they were going to be paid is likely to be
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altered one way or another. of states, those obligations are protected by law and changing those will not be easy. we are talking to joseph lawler about the puerto rico debt crisis and the impact it could have four u.s. states. is louise from san antonio, texas. caller: they have been run in -- running a tremendous amount of commercials asking us to call our congressmen and say we are against this puerto rican bailout. they are talking about seniors losing their income.
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andis this organization what are their motives if it is bailout.payer thank you. i cannot speak to that individual commercial, but one answer that comes to mind as to who might be behind it, there are a lot of owners of these debts who are facing cuts on those bonds. you own a puerto rican government bond, what you are is a billm congress being passed back could result in the value of that bond being cut. are investors who do not o see it reduced, restructured. they want 100 percent on the dollar.
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i cannot say specifically who is behind it, but there are plenty of groups and people with an this.st in seeing or oust, the bill is shaped in a over thevor creditors puerto rican public sector worker retirees, who also faces the prospect of losing out on the benefits of the deal. that is likely to be the case. there are also ideological problems with the ideal of a bailout. are house republicans looking out now is a bailout. how you define that is subjective. people believe that for ideological reasons. mentioned during one hearing, was with warren
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pointing out the similarities between a bailout at this level in the bailout of banks. puerto rico is causing a humanitarian problem. can you talk about this specifically and how it is similar or different? elizabeth worn has been active on these issues and hawkish in terms of making sure things do not get bailout. hearing, she made it clear she was -- he thought the government should be as proactive as handling puerto rico jk crisis as they did the financial crisis in 2008. they went out of their way to find buyers to save a bank so its owners were not left out in
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the cold. she was same age treasury should have the same help for puerto rico. about that, what you are talking about is an island of 3.5 million people who are u.s. citizens. that is a lot of people and they face a tough time. you have these lawmakers, bernie sanders of vermont, really being aggressive in telling the treasury department and other members of congress -- there is ofide of a here, the needs the people in puerto rico and they are facing a crisis, the possibility of business collapsing, commerce flowing to the point nothing gets done. hospitals not being there for people who are sick. people who are leaving the island, which is happening.
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the same way there was an urgent need to stem the crisis in 2008, when it looked like the financial system would collapse, kind of the same feeling now that you heard from senator warren with regard to puerto rico. host: jim, you are on with joseph lawler. for taking myyou call. i am against this bailout completely. themselves into this problem, they can get out. the only reason they want to is so they can bailout their friends in the state here who have overspent, overpromised promised. they have no desire to throw -- to do anything but throw money at the problem. they should not bail them out. you sound like a lot of
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the republican lawmakers and members of congress who are concerned about that. problems --jk puerto rico's problems are of their own doing. and ase a territory, such, they have a unique status under the constitution and they are overseen by congress area they cannot do things states could do to take care of their own problems. a lot of those decisions are made at the congressional level. congress has a different responsibility to puerto rico than it does to the states. the opinion you for waste is the kind of thing paul ryan is concerned about. he is going out of his way to say -- to try to talk about the provisions of the bill and why no taxpayer money is going to go
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into the bill as far as he is concerned and prevent that perception, that it is a problem for him. puerto rico doesn't have the ability to do what some states can do. what can states do? they cannot file bankruptcy. what our options available to states? they can rewrite their own constitution, they can say, in theory, we are changing the way teachers are paid, the way .iremen are paid we are going to change the legal pensionons for these obligations or other debt. they have more autonomy. that is the main thing. they have more autonomy in setting their budgets and changing laws. puerto rico does not have that. host: we are talking to joseph lawler about the puerto rico
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debt crisis bill. democrats can call in and join the conversation (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independence, (202) 748-8002. an of our callers mentioned ad running in that location. from a group an ad called the center for individual freedom, that spent nearly $2 million on ads are the bill was written. video bang clip. >> who will bailout puerto rico? you will. if puerto rico is allowed to declare bankruptcy, high
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spending states like illinois will also want to declare bankruptcy. retirement accounts crushed. tell congress stop the washington bailout of puerto rico. what took congress so long giving this -- given this crisis? guest: you have two competing interests here. one, you saw it there. the owners of the debt. three competing interests. the owners of the debt. we do not know who funded that ad. guess there are people who own those bonds, including retirees. they have a vested interest in not seeing those given a haircut. then you have the people of
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puerto rico. they need a functioning government, the ability to issue debt and have finances working. you have members of congress from every state and they don't want to see taxpayers picking up the bill for another state. state thatfrom a manages finances responsibly, you don't want your taxpayers picking up the tab for states who have been irresponsible. it is a matter of a lot of want tog interest who see this ago a certain way. they have had to work hard to balance those interests and do that is not going to wind up with any one of them outraged. the case with any legislative process, some will end up being outraged.
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host: we are talking about the puerto rican debt relief bill with joseph lawler. up next, rose, staten island, new york. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i appreciate this subject coming up. -- puertoon i have rico has turned down statehood so many times. they will not be able to vote in the general election in november because they chose to. they have gotten so many benefits. forve a lot of respect puerto rico, but they got themselves into this. they have not paid enough into -- to deserve this kind of bailout. they pay their taxes and do so much, but they chose not to be a
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state. the state should come first. they are putting in their equal whoe as opposed to the ones declined statehood repeatedly. let's give joseph lawler a chance to respond. guest: they have not voted for statehood. there is strong support for statehood. they are u.s. citizens. they serve in the u.s. military, they pay taxes, they do not vote for the president, but they are congress,d here in not by a voting member, however. they are american. you are right though, it involves the question of what are the responsibilities of the territory to the u.s. and what are the responsibilities of the federal government to a territory like puerto rico, kuan, and the district of
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columbia is also not a state. of have these questions lines of authority, responsibility, who is , what dole for what the members of congress over to u.s. citizens who might not have the ability to vote for .resident, host: can you discuss the role of the presidential debate. hillary clinton running counter to the position by bernie sanders.
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talk about the presidential race and the impact. guest: she is aligning herself with the obama administration while bernie sanders, the more populous challenger, has taken the more popular stance. he has made this case -- something senator sanders does is he has turned this into an example of different interests , or theclasses millionaires and billionaires versus the working people. an issue of it is
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technocratic administration. clinton has staked out the position that the obama and jack lew has said this is not the bill we want. it doesn't include the fiscal expansion we would like to have seen. it is something that will avert the catastrophe. the obama administration is behind this bill. so is hillary clinton. up next, calvin calming and from the virgin islands on our democratic line. you are on. good morning. the virgin islands is facing a looming debt the virgin islands is also facing a debt crisis.
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we have a huge unfunded debt problem in the territory. i would like to know what protections territories might have that cities and dates would have. we know that detroit filed for bankruptcy. and whether there is any debt relief plan to put in place a financial oversight board to look at how any kind of relief programs given to the territory would managed -- would be managed by someone outside of the territory? question.at you mentioned a few things. u.s. virgin islands, i don't know exactly what the pension problems are, but pension liabilities are also a big problem for puerto rico. have about $46 million of pension liabilities. they are facing the same issues that you are facing the u.s. virgin islands. -- precedentt is
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is set is a great question. knowledge, it seems like this does clear precedent for territories for setting up a introl board that would be place. if it can apply to puerto rico, it can apply to the u.s. virgin islands or another territory that runs into this problem. it creates a board that has the power to go into puerto rico and make decisions about spending and taxes, what to prioritize, and what not. also, contingencies for the board to restructure the debt in an ordered way under the eye of a bankruptcy judge. hours to manage the affairs of the.
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you have crafted it in a way meant to never apply to the city or state, but it looks to me that it could apply to a territory the future. host: although it is unclear but it will be, these mod might be something that looks more akin to the bankruptcy in detroit? guest: probably not. that was a municipal bankruptcy, something you can do through the existing bankruptcy code. this is something more like what we saw for washington, d.c. in the 1990's when they ran into financial problems. congress has a special relationship with the district of columbia and has the power to come in and set the control board. for over a decade, the financial control board made these
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decisions for the district. wastually the board removed. there are several examples from history where the higher level of the moment has come in and impose a financial control board. other one i would mention would the 1970's.city in famously, president gerald ford assistance.ind of this is not a case of congress saying puerto rico, dropdead, but it is to instill a board. we will see if it works in puerto rico. it is something that presumably could apply to another territory like the virgin islands. host: up next to republican incumbent james closing in from
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north carolina. you are on with joseph lawler. caller: good morning. i think the big question here -- with the example you just gave us, you said that gerald ford said to new york, dropdead. it sounds to me like you have is conservative getting blamed for not bailing out liberals. the big question is, and i can't believe no one is asking -- you keep saying, great question. they are not asking me questions. they're asking, is going to save me. the question is who equips the states and territories? the answer is liberal democrats. every civil time. you don't bring it. that is the debate, what were and what doesn't. if you want to go into debt, elect a liberal. if you want to succeed, elect a
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conservative republican. am i right? 100 percent right that this is a birthday present state issue. you have those in the position of having to come to congress to look for help, and right now, that, is the house and controlled by republicans. you have to mimic of a partisan clash. that is one of the damage we have to watch out for and some that love is mentioned specific the. i spoke with orrin hatch, and he mentioned, in particular, he does not want to bail out blue states that he perceives as y couldmore than the sentd and having been
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lands for workers, plan that other states don't have. that is an additional issue that, as a conservative lawmaker, you don't want to have to step in and make a hard decision to help those who are not even in particular that is the problem for state governors, legislators who will find that the help they need may be less willing to come to their aid because they are not on the same side of the aisle. host: this debate has caused problems were some lawmakers as "political" pointed out -- out.tico" pointed the congressional fix
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say they are can turned the to support.embers several of the more vocal conservative iconoclasts sit on the national -- natural resources panel. can you talk about the politics and how it is playing out? guest: go back to 2006 with the carp legislation -- legislation. there was more spending, more bailouts that they really did not like doing. starting in 2008, you saw the beginning of a backlash. they voted down the first version, looking down on recession. it's then, you have seen an increasing resistance against the right against even bailouts
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for businesses or uneven treatment of different people. you have seen it certainly with the growth of the tea party, expressively anti-bailout action. along the way, you have seen it in a number of other instances. anything that has the apparent -- appearance of a bailout will have popular pressure against it. lawmakers,so seen for similar reason, turning because policies that in the past republicans have been more willing to support. for example, trade. this year, with the work of the obama administration on the transpacific partnership you have a real mutiny amongst conservative republicans who, in the past may have been inclined , but court free-trade
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they did not like the terms of this tpp or the fact that it was coming from an obama administration that they don't trust. those factors are at play. the major dynamics of the emergence on the right. from west up, john palm beach, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i have three quick questions. i hate one callers have three quick questions and the guest is after the first question. maybe you can help mr. john lawlor. doesn't puerto rico receive more aid per capita? what is the worst that could happen if they go bankrupt? i seem to remember five or six years ago, a hard nosed governor
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came in there and tried for two years to get this fixed. of course, he got voted out of office because not like the so-called troponin actions. the lastt's start with one first. we're talking about a republican for theactually admired fiscally conservative measures he took. ultimately, they were unpopular. .e was voted out mentioned 2008e -- maybe 2012 -- as a potential running mate for the ticket. he was not able to win reelection. you mentioned how would bankruptcy make the situation
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and put her equal worst. the problem is they cannot go bankrupt. a corporation can go through the bankruptcy process and avoid a panic among creditors or customers. cities can also go through that process. ricoico cannot -- puerto cannot. you have these competing claims on the tax revenues. it would be a free-for-all. no one would know who is getting paid. you would see msl off of government bonds from all the u.s. actual funds and hedge funds. then, you talk with the possibility of financial market stress. with the claims not being resolved, they would never get back to accessing the markets which means that could not --
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they cannot pay for projects like ridges, roads, building new buildings for the government. over time, that would turn into funding ongoing day-to-day services. you really would have this a regular situation where things would grind to a halt and create thaneconomic problems their already are. question was about the amount of welfare that puerto rico first use. i don't know if they receive more per capita. one thing to keep in mind is they are relatively poor compared to the mainland. add, when the government of puerto rico did a study to
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find out what went wrong, one of the findings was the safety net there is expensive to the point and it discouraged work slowed commerce. that is something that the government has identified as a potential problem and an area for reform. craig calling from new york. you are on with joseph lawler. caller: thank you for taking my call, i appreciate it. i don't understand. go onou say they cannot to bankruptcy, that is not true. they can go on to bankruptcy. people either bonds because the bonds are at a higher rate which means they are at a riskier rate to buy. that thisw going in could have.
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it is like anything else in the world. explain to me why they cannot go bankrupt. i know you just gave reasons, but, of course they can go bankrupt. host: let's get them a chance to explain. guest: they cannot go bankrupt under bankruptcy code which is the provisions under law. it is not applicable. the bankruptcy code is not applicable to puerto rico. greg is right at any time inestor buys a bond or share the company or makes any kind of investment, they base it on the underlying legal structures that apply to, in this case, puerto rico. when the investors bought the bonds, in many cases, what we are talking about is speculators who bought them after it was
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clear that puerto rico would have trouble repaying them. they made that that based on what they thought was the underlying law. you don't have to have too much foresight to have seen, a year ago, the laws with respect to puerto rico with change. in one sense, it is true. it is a good point that there is bankruptcy in the sense that the law will be changed to find some way to resolve the different claims, but it will not be the federal bankruptcy code. host: up next, on the democratic line, dave from new york city. caller: thank you for c-span. differentt to offer a perspective, maybe more fundamental. discussion,nderful a deeper discussion on the other
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,-span channel, a panel representing the most fundamental issues of puerto rico, representing the spectrum of thebi breakdown situation they are in. in my view, as an american from new york, i believe the case of puerto rico is the most important issue, international as an americance taxpayer. we have taken their sovereignty. i was told,people -- and central park, 30-40 years 1868, have a poster from 3 years after the civil war was over. i was told that americans went down to puerto rico to help them win independence.
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the puerto ricans and the cubans launched rebellions. host: we only have a few minutes left, do you have a specific question? caller: i want puerto rico to be free. they are caught in something called free association, an orwellian lie. they cannot do anything about anything at the callers are raising because fundamentally to have no sovereignty. guest: it is an accident of history, really, this fiscal crisis that we are seeing. you have the violence, which is part of the u.s., but in some ways, historically and culturally distinct. the fate is tied up with the distinctions of members of the u.s. congress from utah, in particular, and all other states that are far away.

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